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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 7,24-30

When John's messengers had gone he began to talk to the people about John, 'What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No! Then what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? Look, those who go in magnificent clothes and live luxuriously are to be found at royal courts! Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says: Look, I am going to send my messenger in front of you to prepare your way before you. 'I tell you, of all the children born to women, there is no one greater than John; yet the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.' All the people who heard him, and the tax collectors too, acknowledged God's saving justice by accepting baptism from John; but by refusing baptism from him the Pharisees and the lawyers thwarted God's plan for them.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday we heard in Luke’s Gospel Jesus’ response to John’s disciples who had asked if he was the Messiah or if they should wait for another. After his reply, these disciples returned to tell John, who was in prison, what Jesus had said. As they go away, Jesus turns to the crowd to sing the praise of this prophet. He recalls John’s extraordinary preaching. He had admonished everyone to distance himself or herself from a superficial lifestyle; to refrain from a life lived at the mercy of what is in fashion and from false and deceitful myths; and he exhorted people to enter into themselves, to do penance and to seek the Lord. In this he is not far from the tradition of the prophets. This is already a great thing. John was more than a prophet: he had come to prepare the way for the Messiah. This is his true greatness: to prepare the hearts to receive Jesus. In this sense every believer and every Christian community should be like the Baptist: they need to prepare men and women’s hearts to welcome the Saviour. The disciple, in fact, does not live in order to talk about himself or his undertakings, nor to affirm his own ideas or his own convictions. A disciple’s entire life is in the service of the Gospel. The Christian, the Church, functions so that the Word of God touches the hearts of men and women and moves them in such a way so that they are disposed to the Lord. And all this should be done everywhere, until the ends of the earth. Every disciple and every Christian community is asked to continue to point out Jesus and say, "Behold the lamb of God." And it needs to be done with words and with the witness of a life, just as John did.

Memory of the Church